Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)


WHEN prayer delights thee least, then learn to say,
Soul, now is greatest need that thou shouldst pray.
Crookèd and warped I am, and I would fain
Straighten myself by thy right line again.
O come, warm sun, and ripen my late fruits;        5
Pierce, genial showers, down to my parched roots.
My well is bitter; cast therein the tree,
That sweet henceforth its brackish waves may be.
Say, what is prayer, when it is prayer indeed?
The mighty utterance of a mighty need.        10
The man is praying, who doth press with might
Out of his darkness into God’s own light.
White heat the iron in the furnace won;
Withdrawn from thence, ’tis cold and hard anon.
Flowers from their stalks divided presently        15
Droop, fail, and wither in the gazer’s eye.
The greenest leaf divided from its stem
To speedy withering doth itself condemn.
The largest river from its fountain head
Cut off leaves soon a parched and dusty bed.        20
All things that live from God their sustenance wait,
And sun and moon are beggars at His gate.
All skirts extended of thy mantle hold,
When angel-hands from heaven are scattering gold.